He was one of the most beloved stars playing one of the most beloved characters on "Lost," and it's his ties to that show that bring Jorge Garcia back to ABC this weekend. On Sunday night's "Tallahassee" episode of "Once Upon a Time," Garcia guest-stars as the Giant, of "Jack and the Beanstalk" fame.
The role came about as "Lost" producers and writers Edward Katsis and Adam Horowitz, now producers on "Once Upon a Time," had been looking for a way to bring their old pal to their new gig.
"Eddy and Adam, they're friends, and they were kind of keepers of the Hurley story on 'Lost," Garcia tells Yahoo! TV. "They wrote most of the Hurley episodes, so when I would see them at different things, they would tell me that they really enjoyed writing for me and they would love to find opportunities to write for me again, and find a way to maybe bring me in on this show.
"And it was just finding the right thing that worked. Like, the first season, I was unavailable, doing a different show (Fox's 'Alcatraz'), and then this (character) showed up, and they pitched it to me, and it seemed like an inspired idea that I wanted to be a part of."
Garcia fans who loved the sweet, gentle Hurley may be a bit surprised to see him playing an angrier character in the ABC fairytale series, as his Giant is committed to protecting a magical compass that Emma (Jennifer Morrison) needs to return to Storybrooke.
How does your "Once Upon a Time" version of the Giant compare with other portrayals of the character?
It's completely different. It's "Once Upon a Time," and so they always like to take something you have preconceived notions of and skew them into a different direction, and this is no different than that.
So viewers shouldn't expect a kinder, gentler Giant?
No, he's very angry. In fact, (Emma and Captain Hook) get up to the top of the beanstalk and find out the Giant doesn't take too kindly to intruders.
Even the Giant's costume is different than the costumes we've seen for other versions of the character. Did you like it?
I loved it. It was definitely the most extravagant costume I've ever gotten to wear. It had this huge robe and a big belt that I was cinched into. And there are all these dangles and bobbly things that hang off. There's a kind of Eastern influence in it, and it's just really cool. It's the kind of thing where the costume does a lot of the work in creating the character, because you get this sense of broad majesty in this outfit ... you can't help but kind of walk differently and take bigger steps in this outfit. It helped pull the Giant together quite well for me.
Did you want to keep the costume and use it for Halloween?
(Laughing) It's definitely the kind of idea that, in the back of my head, I'll be thinking about. Like, when the show ends, if I was able to purchase that costume, I wouldn't mind buying it.
Does the episode leave open the possibility that the Giant will return this season?
When I went to meet with Eddy and Adam, they kind of pitched ideas for ways the Giant could return in future episodes. And they called last week to bring me back in, like, a month. I don't know exactly how they're going to use the Giant, but it does appear he will have at least one return engagement.
You're also guest-starring in the new season of Showtime's "Californication" ... and, in a throwback to your "Curb Your Enthusiasm" guest spot, you're playing a drug dealer?
Uh, I don't know how much I'm allowed to say on that.
The role reunites you with Evan Handler, who was a "Lost" guest star, and your fellow "Lost"-ie, Maggie Grace ... was that planned?
No, it was a surprise. When I got the script, and I saw Maggie's name on it … I mean, I hoped I'd get to see Evan again, but to find Maggie Grace on the cast list was absolutely a surprise and definitely something I was looking forward to. It was fun to get to work with her again, for sure.
Do your characters on "Californication" have scenes together?
Oh, yes. They definitely interact.
What's next for you? Do you want to jump into another regular series role?
I'd love another series if ... I've been very lucky and have been presented with some stuff that I was excited to be a part of, and if something else shows up like that, I'd be happy to do it. But I'm kind of enjoying just riding this wave and seeing what shows up. Like, "Oh, that looks like a fun place to go play for a while," just taking (the opportunities) as they come. It's kind of nice being in this position now, having come off steady-enough work that there's no need to immediately hustle to get the next job. I can take my time and let what feels like the right thing show up.
Watch a preview from Sunday's episode:
Jorge Garcia's episode of "Once Upon a Time" airs Sunday, November 4 at 8 PM on ABC.